The Brazilian legend, Pele (full names Edson Arantes do Nascimento), considered world best football player ever, dies at age 82.
He is considered the greatest footballer ever, leading Brazil to an unprecedented three World Cup wins for a single player. Brazil equally holds the world record of most World Cup victories – five in all.
Pele’s daughter, Kely Nascimento, confirmed news of her father’s death on her instagram page today.
“Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace,” she wrote.
Pele battled with colon cancer, leading up to a surgery to remove a tumour in September 2021.
He went back to hospital last month, November 2022, for cancer treatment re-evaluation.
Doctors at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo said he contracted a respiratory infection. They subsequently moved him to palliative care when his body refused to respond to chemotherapy treatment.
Pele started playing for the Brazilian national team at age 16, appearing at his first ever World Cup finals a year later.
The 17 year-old prodigy netted six goals in four games to help Brazil lift the World Cup for the first time in 1958.
Brazil subdued Sweden 5-2 in the final game, with Pele accounting for two of the strikes.
He took his teammates to a second and third World Cup victories in 1962 and 1970.
Brazil defeated Italy 4-1 in the 1970 final match played at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico.
It was at this event that he etched his name in history as the greatest footballer, winning the Golden Ball as best player of the tournament.
Over a playing span of 20 years (1957 – 1977), Pele beat goalkeepers 757 times in 831 matches.
“I sometimes feel as though football was invented for this magical player,” said Bobby Charlton, an English football great.
Sir Bobby was part of the England side that Pele’s team beat 1-0 in the group stage of the 1970 tournament.
Pele, world football legend dies, aged 82